The Lamont Pit on Concession 6 in Saugeen Township is expected to be the site of the new Saugeen Shores sports complex. (photo by Jordan MacKinnon)

Saugeen Shores Settles On Site For New Sports Fields

Saugeen Shores council has agreed to purchase a parcel of land that will become the site of its proposed sports field complex.

Council voted 7-0 to move ahead with a $1.5-million purchase of a 155-acre site on Concession 6 at the southeast edge of Port Elgin that includes agricultural lands and a depleted gravel pit known as the Lamont Pit.

Councillor Don Matheson says it’s the perfect location for the complex, which will help solve the municipality’s well-documented shortage of ball diamonds, but adds it will benefit more than just baseball players.

“I’d like to see six or seven ball diamonds, a couple soccer pitches, walking track and some parkland, meet the needs of everybody,” says Matheson. “But the best part is, we’ll be bringing services to [the sports complex], which will help all the residents along the concession road.”

The sale is expected to close in March, but current owner-operator Harold Sutherland Construction will be required to rehabilitate the gravel pit lands as required under the Aggregate Resources Act.

When councillors were originally presented with the sports complex proposal during budget talks, municipal staff estimated opening the first diamonds by 2020, but Matheson is optimistic that timeline can now be moved up.

He says the fact that staff were able to quickly find the property and that the land is already cleared due to the gravel pit operations, means they can move ahead quickly.

“I think we’re speeding it up quite a bit as it is, we’re taking a pit that has been a functioning pit up until now, it’s going to be reclaimed within a year,” says Matheson. “We should be able to have our diamonds up, or our sports facilities up, by this time next year.”

Council is expected to use a mix of sources to finance the purchase, including reserves, development charges and debt, as well as a $250,000 donation from Harold Sutherland Construction.

$40,000 has been set aside in the 2018 budget to complete a conceptual design of the sports complex.